Not much has changed in the updated Subaru Outback though that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
There’s no need to alter something when it’s this good and has been for quite a while.
Subaru have thrown in a few extras in this mid-life refresh while retaining what makes their Outback great.
The overall design of the Subaru Outback body remains the same with its elongated length but shorter height dimensions for an SUV more in the way of a wagon.
This is except for a few upgrades to exterior components such as a new front bumper and grille, and updated wing mirrors.
The alloy wheels – 18 inches in the case of the 3.6R – gain a new revamped design.
Again, mostly unchanged, the interior has a few minor modifications.
On the dash are new vents and air conditioning controls, plus some decorative stitching on the instrument panel.
The centre houses the 8” touchscreen now with tablet-style functionality and the addition of Apple CarPlay/Android Auto which is slowly becoming a core feature in new cars.
Disappointingly there is still no digital radio to keep you entertained.
My highlight was the glossy finish to black plastic areas of the dashboard as well as the steering wheel controls giving it a classier look compared with previous models.
Vehicles in the Subaru range often come with a comprehensive set of features so the upper-spec Outback 3.6R is fitted with all that and then some.
Having the new cameras and monitors on the front and side are a godsend for low-speed manoeuvres and parallel parking.
Conveniences like a powered tailgate and one-touch electronic folding rear seats also make life a little more comfortable.
2018 Subaru Outback 3.6R features include:
- 8” touchscreen
- 11 harmon/kardon speakers
- Reverse camera
- Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
- Smart key/push button start
- Electronic park brake with hill hold
- Paddle shifters
- LED DRLs
- Steering responsive headlights
- Powered seats and heated with memory function
- One touch electronic folding rear seats
- Cargo blind
- Powered tailgate
- 5” LCD driver info screen
- Roof rails
- 18” alloy wheels
Drive and Engine
The 3.6 litre naturally aspirated boxer engine is untouched, still producing 191kW/350Nm and a solid, torquey drive.
Likewise, as in all Subaru vehicles, all-wheel drive is a default AWD and this paired with X-mode in the Outback, is ready for some light off-road exploits.
You wouldn’t want to do anything too challenging given the low clearance.
Though I’m not a fan of CVTs, this gearbox feels in-step with the whole setup and doesn’t hinder acceleration.
One of the best things is the stable and quiet ride and the engine delivers good power when needed.
But having a bigger engine and a couple of sports modes mean you’ll be going through the fuel in no time with a weeks of driving using up 12.5L/100km.
Packaged together are adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, Rear cross traffic alert lead vehicle alert, pre-collision brake assist and 2018 sees the inclusion of lane keep assist.
As mentioned there are front and side view monitors to match the reversing camera, being a set of eyes at the front bumper as well as into the left kerbside from a camera on the wing mirror.
- Safety tech
- Inclusion of Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
- Solid, stable drive
- Powered tailgate
- Glossy black interior finish
Not so good bits
- Fuel consumption
So only a few small improvements to what is a very good car.
Overall, the updates enhance what is already a great car that is well constructed, is practical and possesses a long list of features.
I always enjoy my drive in a Subaru. There’s something about the solid ride and the way the safety features work in sync that keep you reassured.
The interior is not overtly stylish but is robust with simplistic elegance which Subaru does better than most.
The Subaru Outback 3.6R is priced from $49,140.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Subaru Outback 3.6R
- Engine: 3.6L six-cylinder petrol 191kW/350Nm
- Transmission: CVT
- Warranty: 3 Yrs
- Safety: Five Stars
- Origin: Japan
- Price: From $49,140